Her dance tracks play in clubs across the globe but for her latest project, singer-songwriter Stacey Jackson has been chasing the dream in Hornchurch, she tells Rebecca Pitcairn
Singer-songwriter, actress and TV presenter, Stacey Jackson, may well hail from Montreal, but having spent over two decades in the UK, she couldn’t be any more patriotic about Great Britain. “I’m Canadian, but I married an American and lived there for 11 years before coming here so I’m a little bit of a mutt really – but home is England,” she says. “We love living here – it just has the best of everything. It’s so central to the world, I really feel that.”
We are chatting the week following the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and she is still buzzing from the celebrations, in particular the Party at the Palace. “It was by far and away the most extraordinarily well-produced television event I have ever witnessed in my life, on so many levels, it was just incredible,” she gushes.
And Jackson should know. The petite blonde has built a successful career in the music scene with chart-topping dance hits in the UK and US, including a collaboration with iconic rapper Snoop Dogg in 2010, which she re-released last year for the track’s 10th anniversary.
“I’d written a song called Live it Up, which required a rapper on it. Crazily, it turned out my manager had done a lot of work with some gangster rappers back in the day and he knew Snoop Dog so sent my music to him,” she recalls. “The next thing I knew I was on a plane to LA and my career exploded.”
Despite Jackson’s success over the past decade or so, her entry into music wasn’t a conventional one. Having sung with bands in her teens and early 20s, her dream had always been to make it into the entertainment industry. However, when she met and married her husband, entrepreneur Henry Jackson, at college they decided to have a family.
“I’ve often wondered about that sliding door moment – you know, what might have happened if things had been different. But I married young, I married my college sweetheart and we had a family and, as a woman I made a choice, I wanted to be home with the kids and I’m grateful I was able to do that,” she explains.
The 15-year hiatus meant that Jackson didn’t get her big break until she was in her 40s.
“I did start a little later in life and it was a bit of a risk because the industry is very ageist,” she says. “A lot of the record labels probably wouldn’t have even looked at me because they wanted to create more malleable popstars who were younger and I’d lived life. But I believe that you don’t know unless you try and I think I’m proof that it’s really never too late to live your dream.”
Her music career has led to other opportunities too. She appeared as a cameo in the 2020 film, Reboot Camp (a mockumentary about the self-help industry), and has also been cast in a TV series called Channel 52, although that, she says, was delayed due to the pandemic and now may not materialise.
She also has a range of patented technical fitness apparel, StaeFit, which she created to tackle issues such as breast and sweat rash women may have while working out, together with a StaePumped fitness video.
Now 52, and with her children relatively grown up (three are in their 20s and one is a teen), she has embarked on another music project – her own TV show called Stacey Jackson in the 80s, which is filmed at Hornchurch’s Spotlight Studio.
“I really enjoy being in Essex, it’s such a different vibe from London, but is so close and the people are so sweet, genuine and authentic,” she enthuses. “It’s beautiful here too and you get so much more for your money than in the city. It’s also a great crowd for my shows – I’ve done a few PRIDES here and the atmosphere is fantastic.”
Drawing on her experience of 80s music, the nostalgic weekly show on Sky’s music channel, 365 (Spotlight TV), sees Jackson take viewers on a musical journey through some of the best hits of the decade, from new wave and dance, to pop, rock, heavy metal and more.
“I authentically lived through the 80s – it was when I was in my first ever band, writing original music; my first kiss; when I got my driving licence; my sweet 16, all these momentous teenage things that happen, so I was able to associate the personal experience to the memory lane,” she says.
Jackson researches and writes all the shows herself (55 and counting so far) with episodes including ‘Songs from 80s live concerts,’ ‘Hits from 1980s movie classics’ and ‘1980’s music to work out to’ to name a few. The production company who make the show even agreed to use one of her songs, Flipside, as the theme tune, which has since reached Number One on the Global Digital Radio Chart for Independent Music.
“They thought they were going to use a stock 1980s record for the opening credits, but I’d literally just written this song during lockdown and it had an ‘80s vibe to it and so I suggested it and they went for it,” Jackson explains. “That’s the only reason I released it, but organically it’s been my biggest song to date.”
July sees the release of a new single, Urgent, a feel-good dance track that Jackson will be performing at various PRIDE events up and down the country and, later in the year, a new album. If that isn’t enough, she also plans to release a book later this year – a comical fictionalised account of her musical journey.
“It’s probably going to be called ‘How a Gangster Rapper Made me a Better Mum’,” she laughs. “I was going to include Snoop in it, but as it’s fiction it will be more general. However, you can certainly tell it’s my journey and in the third book the character will launch a TV show like me, so that will definitely be set in Essex (or in a fictional place in Essex), there’s no doubt about it.”
Speaking with Jackson for even a short time, it’s easy to see how the unlikely pairing of a ‘middle-aged’ mother and rapper worked so well – she’s down-to-earth, candid and real.
“Snoop and I are from completely different worlds, it’s quite a juxtaposition, which is what makes it so funny really,” she says. “But our paths ended up crossing and we really got on well and found we actually have a lot in common. He has this posse of guys that he looks after like brothers and I’m still in that crowd, I’m part of the ‘Dogg’ crowd.”
staceyjackson.com (photos by Shane Finn)